Lucy Stone - Reconciliation


In 1887, eighteen years after the rift formed in the American women's rights movement, Stone proposed a merger of the two groups. Plans were drawn up, and, at their annual meetings, propositions were heard and voted on, then passed to the other group for evaluation. By 1890, the organizations resolved their differences and merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Stone was too weak with heart problems and respiratory illness to attend its first convention, but was elected to chair the executive committee.

Starting early in January, 1891, Carrie Chapman Catt visited Stone repeatedly at Pope's Hill, for the purpose of learning from Stone about the ways of political organizing. Stone had previously met Catt at an Iowa state woman's suffrage convention in October, 1889, and had been impressed at her ambition and sense of presence, saying "Mrs. Chapman will be heard from yet in this movement." Stone mentored Catt the rest of that winter, giving her a wealth of information about lobbying techniques and fund-raising. Catt later used the teaching to good effect in leading the final drive to gain women the vote in 1920.

Catt, Stone and Blackwell went together to the January, 1892 NAWSA convention in Washington, DC. Along with Isabella Beecher Hooker, Stone, Stanton and Anthony, the "triumvirate" of women's suffrage, were called away from the convention's opening hours by an unexpected woman suffrage hearing before the United States House Committee on the Judiciary. Stone told the assembled congressmen "I come before this committee with the sense which I always feel, that we are handicapped as women in what we try to do for ourselves by the single fact that we have no vote. This cheapens us. You do not care so much for us as if we had votes..." Stone argued that men should work to pass laws for equality in property rights between the sexes. Stone demanded an eradication of coverture, the folding of a wife's property into that of her husband. Stone's impromptu speech paled in comparison to Stanton's brilliant outpouring which preceded hers. Stone later published Stanton's speech in its entirety in the Woman's Journal as "Solitude of Self". Back at the NAWSA convention, Anthony was elected president, with Stanton and Stone becoming honorary presidents.

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